#241 – Friday the 13th

One of many, many Fridays to come.
Jason and His Amazing Technicolor DreamHatchet!
That’s some serious stranger danger.



GENRE: Action/adventure

RELEASE DATE: February 1989

LJN games sure do try hard, don’t they? Any other publisher would have probably tried to make Friday the 13th into an straightforward side-scrolling action game. Jason would have chased you at parts, but a true fight would have come only at the end. You would have killed Jason only to find that gasp he wasn’t the final boss! Jason’s mother would be the last Incarnation and her true form would be something similar to the Alien Queen! How sweet would that have been? Only LJN would encourage Atlus to add puzzle elements, fetch quests, and a vague sense of progression. Goals range from collecting weapons to fighting Jason (or his mother’s severed head), lighting fireplaces, collecting children, fighting Jason some more, and trying not to die. The environments – the whole game takes place in a campground, natch – are repeated throughout the entire game. The enemies are all mindless zombies, except for Jason who is a mindless powerhouse that can overtake you constantly. Truthfully, thanks to the brilliant minds at Atlus (can you imagine Beam Software ruining this game? Doesn’t take much) Friday the 13th isn’t awful. It’s cryptic. One can get lost in the repeating environments and it’s incredibly hard not to die when Jason comes on screen. Even the walkthroughs over at GameFAQS don’t help that much. If you have patience for death, death, and exploring what appears to be the same place over and over again, Friday the 13thmay reward you… and I feel a little dirty saying that.


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7 replies on “#241 – Friday the 13th”

I liked this game, too. Once you learn how to play (and master the Diet “Mike Tyson’s Punchout” which is fighting with Jason), it can be fun to play. Much better than, say, the NES “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

But I’m still confused about why they gave you 2 good characters, 1 semi-good character, and 3 duds!

I know I’m six years late, but I beg to differ. I find A Nightmare on Elm Street much more playable and far better than this game, though I did beat it about four months ago.

Awesome review! This is actually one of the better and fairer reviews I’ve seen for this game (it’s usually panned pretty badly). And i totally agree by the way. It isn’t a perfect game by any means but there is definitely a fun game in there under all of the rough edges.

This game scared me back then but I never figured out what I was supposed to do. I really don’t like it but maybe one day I’ll take the time to understand what I’m supposed to be doing and try to beat it.

This game reminds me of Atari 2600 E.T: Both of them are not great games but are at least much more serviceable than people give them credit for. Both have interesting game mechanics that most gamers did not understand or appreciate at the time, and were pre-internet. The problem was that they aren’t pick up and play games. You have to read the instructions you hopefully had in order to understand how to play. Said instructions need to be well written because of the nature of the games. The big problem was the kids getting the games expected to pick up and play, and weren’t likely to ever read instructions for video games. Putting new and unique gameplay elements into Atari or NES games was a commendable thing the developers tried to do, but they ended up with a game sold to kids that ended up going over their heads because they were created by programmers who designed them with mechanics better suited to adults. Friday the 13th was almost a great game IMO. They really got close, but it needed a bit more polish and, more importantly, gameplay testing by people outside the development team to point out what worked and what was confusing. Really, I think it was at least a nice try…

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